Mayor Lee honors fallen batallion chief


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is offering his condolences following the death of a San Francisco fire battalion chief on Sunday morning.

Lee said in a statement Sunday night:

“Today the City of San Francisco lost one of our own, Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel. Early this morning, Terry and his team answered the call of duty, protecting the lives of San Franciscans, like he had done so many times during his 26 years of service.”

He added:

“A dedicated veteran of the department, Terry put the safety of our city and our residents above his own day in and day out. Not only was Terry a committed professional, he was a family man and beloved by all those who knew him. We are grateful for his public service and the City is forever indebted to his family.”

Smerdel died on Sunday morning while working a shift at Battalion 1. Smerdel had returned from an early morning fire alarm call, and was later found unresponsive by his coworkers inside his office, according to fire officials.

Life saving measures were performed on Smerdel, but was pronounced dead in front of the members of the fire department, and later joined by the department’s chaplin and Smerdel’s family.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne-Hayes White said in a statement:

“Terry was valued member of our department, and loved by all… I want to thank Terry for his 26 years of dedicated service to the San Francisco Fire Department and the City and County of Sn Francisco.”

Smerdel began his career with the fire department in 1991, and had been assigned to Battalion 9 since January of this year. He was also a longtime member of Station 17, fire officials said.

Officials said fire department flags are lowered to half-staff until further notice.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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